England Under-21s boss delighted to end the year with a six wins out of six in 2012
England 2-0 Northern Ireland
7.30pm, Tuesday 13 November 2012
Bloomfield Road, Blackpool FC
was delighted with his Under-21s team as they completed 2012 with a 100 percent record, and without conceding a single goal.
The victory over Northern Ireland in Blackpool on Tuesday
was their sixth on the bounce, matching a record at Under-21 level that dates back to 1991, and they have also kept clean sheets in each of those fixtures.
And as they began their preparations for next summer’s Euro 2013 Finals
after sealing qualification in Serbia a month ago
, Pearce has food for thought as they have a two and a half month break before their next game.
“The result wasn’t the main driver but it’s pleasing to win and pleasing to keep a clean sheet,” he told FATV
after the game at Bloomfield Road.
“[Six wins and six clean sheets] takes some doing at any level, make no mistake, I can’t lose sight of that and the credit goes to the players.
“To have so many new faces in the squad and for players to play as well as they did, move the ball as quickly as they did, was a real bonus.
“I think all of them done really well and it gives us something to think about. I couldn’t be more delighted with the way the season has gone and the way tonight has gone.”
Pearce added: “We’re together for a short period of time so you don’t have the chance to build that camaraderie.
“They seem to come into the environment and really enjoy each other’s company, and that gives you a real good start as a manager.
“A vast amount of players will come away, be delighted with their contribution, won an England cap as well and have been part of a winning set-up.”
Pearce also praised Connor Wickham
, who headed England in front on the stroke of half-time for what was his second goal in two games.
The Sunderland forward, who has made just one appearance for the Black Cats this season, has now bagged three in the last four Under-21s appearances, including the winner in Serbia last month to seal their place in Israel.
“Connor has come into this squad whenever we have met up with a real smile on his face and a purpose about his football,” continued Pearce.
“We’ve seen a spring in his step and I thought he played very, very well tonight. He played with energy, enthusiasm for the game and it’s as well as he’s played in this environment.
“He should be going back to his club and, if I was him, be saying ‘now it’s my turn to get in Sunderland’s team’.”
Now Pearce has until February to prepare for the Under-21s next meet-up, and says he’ll be on the look-out for any other young English players who can push for a place in his plans.
“I’ll be picking up the form of players and making sure I’m on top of all the young players that are going to come and stake a claim to be in this squad,” said Pearce.
“I need to be sure I’m aware of the next player coming through the door, not the ones that are here now. Who are the next ones we need to see?”
1 Ben Amos, 2 Adam Smith, 3 Jack Robinson, 4 Josh McEachran, 5 Andre Wisdom, 6 Tom Lees, 7 Tom Ince, 8 Jordan Henderson (c), 9 Connor Wickham, 10 Nick Powell, 11 Andros Townsend
12 Nathaniel Clyne, 13 Jason Steele, 14 Liam Moore, 15 Harry Maguire, 16 Nat Chalobah, 17 Will Hughes, 18 Martyn Waghorn, 19 Benik Afobe, 20 Sam Johnstone
: Stuart Pearce
Connor Wickham 45, Benik Afobe (p) 75